THE BLOG

#BritishValues and #TerrorLaws - Has Theresa May Been Reading '1984'?

01/10/2014 10:45 BST | Updated 30/11/2014 10:59 GMT

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The Tory collective are in the final day of their conference trying to forget about the antics of Brooks Newmark revealed on the eve of their Birmingham conference, and the anguish they experienced in having to be stuck in a room full of Tories. Newmark who had to remove himself from his position as Minister for Civil Society for his blue rated antics - which of course has led us to question the judgement of Prime Minister David Cameron, but then we've probably done that already.

George Osborne, stuck on his course of cuts, ones that he claims will save £3bn. As Theresa May unveiled her guns, a new set of measures counter-terrorism.

The changing dynamic of Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, IS) and the role of foreign fighters has led to an increased paranoia of what sympathisers and active participants might do in their home towns, and the influence they may have on their communities. But wait...

These measures don't just tackle those who may be playing a role in this war against the "enemy afar" but pretty much anyone who believes in Islam as a comprehensive way of life. Because Islam being a way of life is a little more than a spiritual state, and extends beyond Sufism. The draconian set of measures proposed by our wonderfully poised Home Secretary appears to much more militant than we've previously seen, and one that opposes any remnant of political Islam.

PREVENT is not trusted by the majority of Muslims. The closure of bank accounts held by prominent activists and charities working on global fronts, the arrest of aid workers travelling to Syria to help those in need, and mothers being told to spy on their children for signs of 'extremism' has led to this distrust. So at a time where the Mayor of London calls upon city dwellers to be "vigilant" whilst on the tube, the rhetoric displayed by Theresa May is dangerous and divisive - rhetoric with semblance far wider reaching than PREVENT.

These new set of measures include:

Banning individuals from speaking at public events, protests and meetings.

Authority to ban individuals from public locations.

Restrictions on public appearances including television.

Constraints on social media and the internet for "propagating extremism".

Measures to proscribe non-violent 'extremist' groups working "For the purpose of overthrowing democracy".

When the Home Secretary said "British values will prevail in the end" against extremism, if she's talking about freedom of speech, then she's certainly missed a trick. The fact that surfaces with the revelation of these measures under the banner of "British Values" is in reality a demonization of a single community - a community just like any other.

The new strategy is based on proposals that came out of David Cameron's extremism Task Force, which followed the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby last year in London and come as a long anticipated report on the Muslim Brotherhood and its activities in Britain is due to be released.

Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve said there was a risk these new measures could "simply fuel resentment" and this already seems to be the case. Advocacy group CAGE also expressed concern.

In a statement they said: "Yesterday the British government used the threat of IS in Syria as a way to put forward draconian legislation, we've seen it with previous governments and we're seeing it again here, we call on all Britons to speak out against the rapid erosion of our rights." The implications of the proposed measures cannot be judged before they have been seen but the proposals only add to the draconian nature of law enforcement we have experienced as a result of PREVENT.

Two days ago, Turkey's president Recip Tayyip Erdogan spoke about international terrorism and world security, saying that "everyone is talking about the consequences, but no one is addressing the causes" my translation and sentiment on these matters If you're not going to start talking about the espresso, there's really no point shaving of the froth.